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Spring spruce-up

2016 March 1

Whether your boat has enjoyed a winter off or it’s time to take on some annual chores, our guide to fitting out will make sure your boat is ready for a great year of sailing

Paul Todd/Outside Images photo


Tune the rig

A properly tuned rig is important for safety and performance and it’s something that should be done at least once a year or anytime the mast has been unstepped. The key is to get the mast centered and straight in the boat. You can check if it’s centered by hoisting a 100-foot steel measuring tape on the main halyard and measuring the distance from the masthead to the rail outside the shrouds on each side. If all is well, the measurements will be identical. If not, use the turnbuckles to adjust the tip of the mast. You can adjust the rake by tightening or loosening the headstay and backstay. Tighten up everything from the top down, taking care to take the same number of turns on each side, to do your rough tune.

To fine tune, go for a sail in moderate breeze and set the mainsail and a headsail to get a comfortable angle of heel going. Line yourself up with the mast track and look straight up the rig. A well-tuned rig will be in column, with no wavy areas. Then tack and check the other side. It’s helpful if someone is aloft while you’re sailing to make adjustments on the leeward side. Odds are, you’ll have to do a number of tacks to get it right, but consider it a good excuse for an early-season sail.

Next: Show your winches some love

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